This morning BudgetTravel.com fielded questions from readers in London about fun things to do in New York City on the Times of London's website, with stupendous pro help from Lisa Ritchie, Editor of the Time Out New York city guide, NYC for Visitors, and Shortlist guides (Time Out New York), Chris Heywood, spokesman for NYC & Company (nycgo.com), and Ginny Light, Assistant Travel Editor, Times Online.
"Where are the hottest bars in New York? Macy's or Fifth Avenue for shopping? Where's best to ice skate?" We answered these questions—or at least, did the best we could at 8 o'clock in the morning Eastern time.
Here are some highlights that may be helpful to you if you're planning a trip to New York City soon:
What is a good hotel / apartment website for a young couple with a limited budget wanting to visit NYC?
For truly affordable, airbnb.com offers places to stay in the spare rooms of people's apartments. You book online with a credit card, and you receive a code. The owners of the apartment don't get the money until you meet them in person and enter the code together at a website.
Any new music themed attractions in NYC?
You could also check out the new(ish) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in Soho if you have an interest in pop culture; there's a whole room dedicated to NYC emphemera (www.rockannex.com).--Lisa
Avery Fisher Hall just reopened with a brand new gorgeous complex by Lincoln Center, if you want to have a night in high style.--Sean
Where is the best deli for salt beef on rye, pickles etc?
Lisa, Chris, and Sean agree: Katz's www.katzdeli.com
Lisa adds: And it's open until 3am on weekends! Try the pastrami and don't think about Meg Ryan, who had her "fauxgasm" scene here in When Harry Met Sally…
Also, Martin. If you like pickles, stop by Guss' on the Lower East Side too: 85-87 Orchard Street, between Broome and Grand Streets. It's open from 11am-6pm Monday thru Thursday and Sunday and 11-4pm on Saturday. You'll know it by the barrels outside! It's one of the last holdovers of what was a booming pickle industry in this former Jewish neighborhood.
Any good rooftop bars?
Hi Annie, Sean likes the Gansevoort's rooftop and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's rooftop. I personally like going to the rooftop bar at the Peninsula Hotel called Salon de Ning. Or, the spectacular 230 Fifth rooftop bar, during summer and winter. In the winter, they have robes and heaters. The best thing about is seeing the Empire State Building at night! So quintessential NYC! Annie, I also found a piece on www.nycgo.com that talks about winter rooftop places.
The Times of London also has a guide to NYC rooftop bars.
Lisa: If it's shopping you're after, the Times of London's New York shopping guide will get you started. Century 21, across from the World Trade Center site, is amazing, but also check out Gabay's Outlet in the East Village for designer shoes and bags as a less-mobbed alternative: www.gabaysoutlet.com
What about holiday markets?
If you're coming to NYC before the end of January, check out the various holiday markets. The one is Bryant Park is already open; most of the others open in late Nov. I just wrote a roundup of the best: see www.timeoutnewyork.com/holidays. Especially check out Gifted on the edge of the East Village (in the article) as there will be lots of cool handmade things by local designers/maker
See www.timeoutnewyork.com/holidays for all the info you need about Xmaas markets and more.
What about gay nightlife?
Hey NickYC - I recommend Vlada, Therapy, Posh, and Bartini in Hell's Kitchen. Also, if you're going to Chelsea for the gay scene, check out Barracuda, G Lounge, and Splash for dancing. If you like a sports bar for the gay audience, go to Gym Bar on 8th Avenue. The Grace hotel also has a Wed night evening event. Check out www.nycgo.com/gay for more general info. Enjoy!
Best areas are for nightlife for 20-30's?
For concentrated nightlife, head either to the Lower East Side or the East Village for great bars and small music venues like (Cake Shop) and faux speakeasies like the Back Room (102 Norfolk Street between Delancey and Rivington). Look for the sign that says the Lower East Side Toy Company, pass through an alley and up the metal stairs. Also, Williamsburg is the city's indie rock mecca: check out small venues like Pete's Candy Store and Union Pool as well as the Music Hall of Williamsburg (see the Music section of timeoutnewyork.com for listings). And finally, the hottest club right now is the new Santos Party House, launched by a team that includes Andrew WK, one of the few new spots to open downtown in recent years (on the Tribeca/Chinatown border). Santospartyhouse.com.
Sean adds: Consider catching a show at Joe's Pub in the Village/NYU area -- it's hipster dinner theater, you and your friends can sit at a table and catch a good show while chatting and relaxing.
Angel Share is a "hidden" old-style speakeasy bar with excellent martinis -- you need at least three people to get a booth. Go to St. Mark's Place, walk up a staircase through an unassuming looking Asian restaurant to an unmarked door nymag.com/listings/bar/angels_share
Have a blast!
Chris adds: Hi, I highly recommend the Sex and the City tour by On Location Tours! You get a real taste for the movie. My favorite part of the tour is when you stop to get cupcakes in the West Village near the Magnolia Bakery. It's cool to also walk down and see Carrie Bradshaw's brownstone (which in the movie is on the Upper East Side, but in real life was in the W Village). Try On Location Tours for this tour along with the new Gossip Girl Tour! Enjoy.
Sean chimes in: But don't take the Sex and the City Official Tour unless you/'re comfortable going to a sex toy shop and a dive bar.
The full Web chat is archived here: "New York city break travel clinic: ask the experts."
This Just In's blog coverage of New York City news